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Miranda Lambert’s ‘Rated X’ Performance Highlights 2015 ACM Honors

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Miranda Lambert provided the high spot of the evening at the 2015 ACM Honors on Tuesday night (Sept. 1), performing a sassy tribute to Loretta Lynn that drew from her own headline-making life.

Lambert performed “Rated X,” a Lynn song that created controversy in its time due to its theme of a woman who finds freedom after her divorce: “Well if you’ve been a married woman and things didn’t seem to work out / Divorce is the key to bein’ loose and free so you’re gonna be talked about / Everybody knows that you’ve loved once so they think you’ll love again / You can’t have a male friend when you’re a hasbeen or a woman that’s rated X.”

Afterward, she presented Lynn with the Crystal Milestone Award. “Thank you, Miss Loretta, for that song, and being so brave, and paving the way for me to stand up here and sing a song like that. She sang songs that were not necessarily appropriate at times, like this for me,” Lambert quipped in an oblique reference to her own recent divorce (quote via The Boot). “I’m glad to be here singing for my friend.”

The 83-year-old country legend hasn’t lost her sense of humor. “I just thought I’d drop in to see if Miranda was keeping it country,” Lynn joked. “I want to thank you all for the award, and I’ll be back next year for another one.”

Other highlights of the ceremony included emotional speeches from Luke Bryan, who won the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, and Alabama singer Randy Owen, who accepted the Career Achievement Award with his bandmates, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook.

“I want to say thanks to my daddy,” he said. “He taught me how to play the guitar. Three chords. I messed that up learning a whole lot of other chords from the Beatles and stuff.”

Jason Aldean performed a medley of Alabama’s greatest hits before presenting them with the award, and Holly Williams performed Eric Church‘s “Like Jesus Does” before presenting him with the Jim Reeves International Award. For the second year, Jake Owen served as the host for the ACM Honors, which recognize winners in the ACM Awards categories that are not presented onscreen during the television broadcast.

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